The people have spoken: they’re fans of UBTECH’s Alpha 2 humanoid robot.
The robotic assistant has, at press time, raised $1,166,374 on Indiegogo, easily surpassing its original goal of $100,000. And to celebrate hitting the stretch goal, UBTECH is donating 10 Alpha 2 robots to robotic research institutions and developers around the world to promote faster development and interest in the future of humanoid robotics.
UBTECH will select those 10 lucky winners based on recommendations and interactions from UBTECH’s home page, as well as on the scale and focus of robotics and engineering programs. Educational institutions and developers interested in the donation program can get more information by registering at [email protected] or by visiting this Alpha 2 campaign page.
“The overwhelming response for Alpha 2 is a dream come true,” says UBTECH CEO James Chow. “We have long wanted to bring the world a humanoid robot designed for the family, and clearly the world is ready.”
With funding from the Indiegogo campaign, the company intends to expand its engineering team and reach a wider development community, both of which will help take Alpha 2’s capabilities to the next level.
Designed to make “household life easier,” Alpha 2 stands 17 inches tall, is 9 inches wide and weighs about 5 lb. Alpha 2 can take pictures and videos, make calls, check voice mails, read and send texts and emails, and control WiFi-enabled office equipment. Alpha 2 can also post to your social media accounts using voice commands.
Alpha 2, which is programmable and runs on an open-source OS, is connected to the cloud and leverages intelligent voice and perceptual systems to receive commands and execute corresponding behaviors. The robot is capable of simultaneous interpretation, voice search, visual interaction and providing verbal reminders.
Unlike some of the other companion robots set to hit the market, such as Jibo and Buddy, Alpha 2 actually has legs to move around. Alpha 2 has 20 servo motors that bend its joints, helping the robot be your personal dance partner, DJ, singer, yoga and workout instructor and more.
Alpha 2, which can operate for “more than 1 hour” per charge, can also tutor children and entertain pets, remind you to take medication and will integrate with smart appliances like lights, locks, and security systems.
Alpha 2 is compatible with both iOS and Android systems for remote communication and control. UBTECH is also supporting the developer community with Voice Apps (VAPPs) that you’ll be able to purchase from the Alpha Store, which should be up and running around the time of the first Alpha 2 deliveries. Developers will be able to submit skills or applications for certification in advance.
Alpha 2 will come with 16GB local storage, and there’s no need to back-up your data since the robot is connected to the cloud. UBTECH says Alpha 2 uses MySQL encryption to secure personal data sent to and from the cloud.
UBTECH says Alpha 2 will start shipping in February 2016. The Super Early Bird Special is $499, while the Early Bird Special is $599. Developer editions are available for $729 (8kg servo), $739 (20kg servo) and $769 (2 servos).